The New Insurance Mandate: Why Does My Brother Need Maternity Coverage?
Mandatory maternity coverage… for men? Unfortunately, this is no April Fools joke.
If it sounds confusing, you’re not alone. In fact, the broker community in California is puzzled!
In California, group health plans already include maternity coverage. But Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill that will also mandate maternity coverage for individual insurance. That’s right: this coverage will be mandatory—whether you want it or not, whether you’re male or female.
According to the Sacramento Bee, “The legislation was supported by Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield of California. It was opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce which said the requirement would deter insurers from offering discounted plans.”
The Senate Majority Caucus website reported that “SB 222, the ‘Maternity Coverage Availability Act,’ authored by Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), will require health insurance plans — as of July 1, 2012 — to provide maternity coverage as part of their individual health insurance policies.”
Is mandatory maternity coverage really necessary?
Our concern at Archer Weiss is that people who don’t want maternity coverage will now be forced to purchase it. If you’re not planning on having children, or perhaps are unable to have children, this means you’ll be paying for benefits you don’t need.
This new maternity mandate is as bewildering to us as it probably is to you. But we wanted to bring this issue to your attention so that you can take whatever action you feel is appropriate, such as writing your state legislator and expressing your views.
Get ready for higher rates
The Senate Majority Caucus claims “SB 222 will save the state money by increasing maternity coverage options for women, thus reducing the burden on the state to provide maternity coverage.”
Frankly, we just don’t see how adding coverage will reduce costs.
We don’t like higher insurance rates any more than you do. But we need to be upfront about what will happen according to the providers we’ve consulted so far. So brace yourself for the increases that are likely to come as a result of the new mandatory coverage, which is expected to raise rates by 6% (not including normal inflationary rate increases).
If you’d like to vent, please feel free to leave a comment. We’d like to hear your thoughts on this matter. However, your energy may be better spent writing to your California congressional representative.
If you’d like to stay informed on this issue and others like it, please subscribe to the blog so we can keep you up to date as developments unfold.